Photo Essay: Mars Hill Farm
Just forty minutes south of Dallas, open land dotted with farms and ranches rolls on for miles. Nestled in the middle of that countryside is Mars Hill Farm, a place that champions local agriculture for a global purpose. Mars Hill Farm exists to provide jobs for refugees, as well as fresh food and flowers to Dallasites. At the heart of the team that runs Mars Hill is this belief: that by providing people in difficult situations with steady, familiar work, they can lift refugees back on their feet again and provide high quality produce to consumers.
I drove onto Mars Hill Farm on a surprisingly cool summer morning in July. I was immediately greeted by the enthusiastic and friendly Jonathan, one of the farm managers at Mars Hill. He gave me a tour of the farm while telling me his journey of studying business in school to falling in love with agriculture.
During my time there, I met two men originally from Syria named Mahmmoud and Saeed, and one man originally from India who wished to remain anonymous. Each of the three men commute from Dallas to the farm every day and work from 6 AM-1 PM. It is not easy work; it is physically laborious, but they reap what they sow. The rewards are great, and the sense of accomplishment makes it worth it. As the men worked, they joked and chatted with one another. Sometimes the conversation was simple catching up, other times it veered into the lane of exploring cultural differences between one another.
The Mars Hill Farm business model - lifting up a marginalized individual through empowering work and equipping that individual with countless new skills - is highly impactful. For refugees starting over, it is the difference between isolation in a foreign land and finding a way to feel at home in a new place. Not only can they build a community at Mars Hill, but they get to practice their English-speaking skills so they can build a community outside of work as well.
I encourage you to make your own trip down to Mars Hill Farm on a Saturday! You can pick your own bundle of flowers as well as purchase fresh veggies and meat. There’s also the promising beginnings of a pumpkin patch. The Mars Hill team hopes to begin offering classes soon in subjects such as organic gardening. They are located at 1604 Mars Rd. Ferris, Texas.
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